Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been “making waves” recently with his somewhat random insistence that undocumented immigrants present a grave murder-and-rape threat to the United States. Trump also does business in the construction sector, which employs many individuals to perform manual labor on a short-term basis in difficult conditions. Do you see where this is heading? Indeed: The Washington Post found a number of individuals working at a D.C. Trump construction site who had originally arrived in the U.S. illegally. They’re not happy about their nominal employer’s attitudes, and they’re willing to speak on the record about it:
“It’s something ironic,” said Ivan Arellano, 29, who is from Mexico and obtained legal status through marriage. He now works as a mason laying the stonework for the lobby floor and walls of what will become the Trump International Hotel.
“The majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally,” Arellano said in Spanish. “And we’re all here working very hard to build a better life for our families.”
“Do you think that when we’re hanging out there from the eighth floor that we’re raping or selling drugs?” Ramon Alvarez, 48, a window worker from El Salvador, said during a break Monday morning just outside the construction site. “We’re risking our lives and our health.”
For David Montoya, 28, Trump’s comments are a harsh reminder that anyone who is not a U.S. citizen is vulnerable to stricter immigration laws in the country. A truck driver at the hotel site, Montoya arrived from El Salvador in 1997, gaining temporary protected status from deportation in 2001. “Every 18 months, I have to get it renewed,” he said … [Montoya] noted with pride that he thinks his story — one of coming to a new world, and of hard work paying off — is more impressive than that of the powerful developer whose name adorned the sign behind him as he spoke.
“Actually,” he reflected, “we’re more American than him.”
David Montoya for president!